Denisovans lived in Tibetan Plateau, fossil evidence
02, May 2019
Prelims level : Tibetan Plateau location and its geography Mains level :
- The mandible is so well preserved that it allows for a virtual reconstruction of the two sides of the mandible. Mirrored parts are in grey. (Picture credit: Jean-Jacques Hublin, MPI-EVA, Leipzig)
- Species adapted to low-oxygen environment before modern humans arrived
- Analysis of a fossil jawbone containing molars recovered from Baishiya Karst cave in Xiahe, Gansu, China shows Denisovans lived in the Tibetan Plateau some 1,60,000 years ago.
- The first evidence for Denisovans or Denisova hominins was first discovered in 2008 in a cave in the Altai mountains in Siberia. This is the first time evidence of Denisovan presence has been found outside the Denisova cave.
- The mandible was so well preserved that it allowed for a virtual reconstruction of the two sides of the mandible (in photo, with mirrored parts in grey).
- Contrary to popular belief that high altitude regions were inhabited only by modern humans dating back to less than 40,000 years, the fossil remains conclusively prove that Denisovans lived in the Tibetan Plateau at an altitude of 3,280 metres much earlier — 1,60,000 years ago. The Denisova cave in Siberia is at an altitude of just 700 metres.
- The discovery of a Denisovan sample in the Tibetan plateau at a high altitude provides the answer.